She Thinks Purple's first annual Female Founders Showcase + Networking Luncheon is quickly approaching. For this inaugural event, we've assembled a fantastic lineup of speakers to deliver talks that illuminate how "purple thinking" grounded in courage, creativity, clarity, confidence, and community has fueled their entrepreneurial journey. Each of these accomplished women has launched a company or social impact organizations that is enriching the lives of others. We just know you'll be inspired by their stories.
Lara Holliday was preparing for a road trip that would change her life in unexpected ways. Not only was she going to be away from her family and businesses for several days, she was traveling with a woman that she had met only a few weeks prior to a far and unfamiliar place. As if that wasn’t anxiety producing enough, Lara’s oldest daughter, Josephine, was battling a cold. Likely sensing the mommy guilt, Josephine said to Lara, “Go, Mama. You have to do this.”
Lara went on that road trip to Charleston, South Carolina; and what she experienced profoundly shifted her perspective on community and crystallized her decision to launch Tide Risers-- a yearlong cohort experience for women leaders.
She hasn’t looked back.
Erica Taylor Haskins
TINSEL Experiential Design
It started over drinks. Erica Taylor Haskins met up with two friends for happy hour. Erica, Liz and Adette had met in college while singing for GW Vibes, a student-led acapella group at their alma mater, George Washington University. They were all much busier now #adulting, with real jobs, committed relationships and rent to worry about; but they stayed in touch.
During one of their usual meetups in 2010, they got to talking about their careers and discovered that they were all longing to get back the creative spark that they had shared during their college days. Liz was recently married, and the experience of planning her wedding had started her dreaming about the possibility of creating unique beautiful events for a living.
Mothers are magic. But they're not superhuman. Katie learned that the hard way. After leaving a coveted job in the social sector where the unrelenting expectations and the rigidity of the environment had become too much, she found #clarity and #confidence by rediscovering and realigning her life with her core values. Foremost among these: Revolution starts with self.
As founder of The Delta, she’s on a journey to create beautiful, accommodating co-working spaces for moms to do good in the world while doing right by themselves. As she puts, it, "The Delta's brand promise is simple: Moms always come first here. That’s why I believe moms will always come here first.”
Nita Baum has many superpowers. Not least among them is an incredible capacity to listen deeply, reserving judgement, really hearing another human being, and then offering affirmation. She is a light. It’s no wonder that her first venture was a nod to the gift that she so often brings into the the world. In time, she began to see the potential in creating a business where deep listening and affirmation was a central component of work and her role as a confidante and coach to freelancers was no longer a joyful, but tangential activity. In 2013, b*free was born, and through partnership with her co-creators, Nita set out to share her the transformative potential of freelancing with people on their own journeys.
Born into a family of actors and professional storytellers, creative expression has always come easily to Jess Peterson. She started playing piano at age 5, started selling mixtapes at age 8, went to Woodstock 99 at age 15, studied music business in college, put on concerts for a campus of 20,000 students, and immediately jumped into the industry after school. She just knew that music was her calling, until shifts in the industry and her discontents with the treatment of artists led her to recalibrate. Jess' journey to channel her love for music, art, and stories in ways that helped people took her on many interesting turns, Ultimately she discovered her love for stop motion animation, which with all its nostalgia and whimsy, allowed her to tell stories without the constraints of the “the real world.” Having found her true calling, she founded her company.
Axis Talent Partners
Laura Donald does it all, and seemingly with ease. She’s a mom, business owner, and a leader in her field. She’s built a successful talent recruitment and coaching practice, aligned to her values; and she is changing the face of education leadership. Laura makes it all look so easy, but away from the public gaze, she has navigated several heartbreaks and setbacks that tested her metel, and too often undermined her confidence. The story she tells is one of learning to recognize and name the courage that she shows, to acknowledge her strength, and to build confidence by looking back on all that she’s accomplished by never giving up. Her story is about learning to be kinder to herself and of freeing herself from unreasonable expectations. Her story is one that only a woman founder could tell.
The Writer’s Block Ink
Before Clarissa Beyah Taylor was a global communications leader and spokesperson for Fortune 500 companies, she was an avid reader, aspiring poet and perplexed teenager. Inspired by her own experiences as a misunderstood youth and artist, she decided to create a space that would use the power of the written, spoken, and performed word to help young people transform their future. This would be a place of support, a place where it was okay to different and vulnerable. This place would ultimately become a nonprofit organization called The Writer’s Block Ink that over its 15 years of operation would employ nearly 100 young leaders and reach thousands more in the community through its programming and partnerships. But before it could become that, it had to start humbly in the heart and mind of its founder, dreaming and writing the vision in her living room.